Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Why not? They already tap American phones and read American e-mail.

Posted by Charles II on October 22, 2009

Noah Schachtman, Wired:

America’s spy agencies want to read your blog posts, keep track of your Twitter updates — even check out your book reviews on Amazon.

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It’s part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using ”open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the flood of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports generated every day.

Visible crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. (It doesn’t touch closed social networks, like Facebook, at the moment.) Customers get customized, real-time feeds of what’s being said on these sites, based on a series of keywords. …

Visible already keeps tabs on web 2.0 sites for Dell, AT&T and Verizon. For Microsoft, the company is monitoring the buzz on its Windows 7 rollout. For Spam-maker Hormel, Visible is tracking animal-right activists’ online campaigns against the company.

If they’re going to browse, they could at least buy something.

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8 Responses to “Why not? They already tap American phones and read American e-mail.”

  1. Stormcrow said

    Same old problem.

    These are driftnet methods.

    Hence, you’re capturing more intelligence data by several orders of magnitude than you have analysts for.

    Bruce Schneier likens this to drinking from a firehose.

    As long as they insist on doing things this way, we are going to keep on suffering from preventable intelligence failures. Some of them will have the same sort of consequences we all had a front-row seat to witness, 8 years ago.

    • Charles II said

      That’s alright, Stormcrow. They’ll do like the Stasi and hire so many agents that there are enough to read everything. Of course, there won’t be anything much left of America after that.

      • Nah, that would cost money. That’s why most government agencies gave up having their own homebrew software systems, because they didn’t want to have lots of guys like Stormie on staff. Instead, they made Bill Gates a very rich man and we of the general public are now by and large committed to using computers that crash at least once a week.

  2. jo6pac said

    I think this a great Idea of course it could put the big G out of business. I think they save themselves some time and just make a really great search engine or maybe I could hire them to search for items for me while seating around doing nothing. I guess that’s why I use above and below economies, oh I should’nt have said that so Loud. The cia is owned by me and the rest of the citizens of Amerika, but corp. controls it. This just reminds how close we are becoming the movie V.
    jo6pac

  3. Doran Williams said

    Crash that search system. Overwhelm it. Everytime you email, blog, twitter or fart, put something in it like bomb, or explosive, or meet me at location Y at 3:00 a.m. for secret instructions. Make your emails look like something you put together on your time delay fuse refrigerator door with those little magnet backed word things for stream of revolutionary consciousness poetry. Like CIA on death trip will bring the masses to revolt.

    Oh. And keep all your old computers that have crashed or worn-out or become out of date deadly poison gas clunkers. Collect the same from family and friends blow them up. Put them in a room somewhere intelligence on next operation against the empire so that when you get the secret police storming your home or office there will be a multiplicity of dangerous destroy the empire old computers that they will have to spend terroristic hours going through.

    Noli nothi permittere te terere.
    or
    Illegitimi non carborundum

    • Charles II said

      Geez, Doran. This is not how I want to build Mercury Rising readership.

      Though, now that I think of it, intelligence analysis would probably be substantially improved if they read my Honduras dailies.

      • Doran said

        But Charles, just think of what it would mean for the bottom line to have 15 or 36 or 52 government drones each clicking onto this blog 10 or 15 times a day.

        Hey, all I’m saying is slip into your sabots and get to work.

      • Charles II said

        This sounds like a government make-work program.

        Come to think of it, considering what little they accomplish to protect us against actual threats vs. how much time they spend playing politics, so does US intelligence.

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